Wages based on productivity

Most people with disability are able to perform jobs at the same capacity as any other employee. These people naturally receive full rates of pay.

Other people, however, have disabilities that significantly affect how much they are able to achieve at work each day. In these cases, employers may need an option to pay people with disability a fair wage for the work they do. This makes it more sustainable for organisations to employ people with disability and keep them in work.

The Supported Wage System (SWS) allows you to match an appropriate wage with the productivity of person with disability. For example, if your employee is assessed as having a work productivity rate of 70 per cent, this may allow you to hire the person at 70 per cent of the usual award rate of pay. The productivity percentage only applies to the employee’s wage rate and all other conditions of employment are the same as those of co-workers. The SWS is also available for current employees whose jobs may be at risk due to a reduced capacity to work.

In late 2017, the Fair Work Commission made modifications to the SWS for people employed under the Supported Employment Services Award 2010. For ease of use, two sets of Overview and Handbook documents have been developed depending on whether they are for SWS under the Supported Employment Services Award 2010 or for open employment.

The Supported Wage System (SWS) application process

Before applying for the SWS, employers must ensure that the applicable industrial award or instrument contains SWS provisions: if not, an application cannot be made.

Your organisation applies for SWS on behalf of the employee.
Your employee commences a work trial to acquire work skills and competencies.
An assessor conducts an initial SWS assessment to determine your employee's work productivity. A wage assessment agreement is then signed by all parties and sent to the relevant Industrial Registrar.
Your employee's work productivity is reviewed regularly or if a substantial change occurs in his or her productivity level.

Application for the SWS are lodged on the secure JobAccess secure site - refer the Supported Wage System Application process.

You may also be eligible to receive a one-off payment to help offset the cost of employing a person with disability in a new job. It is not payable if an employee is receiving employment assistance from an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE), other Employment Services provider, or whose job is at risk.

Further information about the SWS is available on the Supported Wage System page, including training modules for employers.

For details of SWS, including eligibility, contact a JobAccess Adviser on 1800 464 800, speak to a Disability Employment Services provider in your area, download the relevant Supported Wage System Handbook, or contact the Department of Social Services Assessment Team on 1800 065 123.

Last updated: